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Charlottesville cancer patient works to complete her bucket list

Christopher and his mom, Melissa Martsolf
Christopher and his mom, Melissa Martsolf(WVIR)
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:09 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A single mother of three is making the most of the time she has left. Melissa Martsolf is battling stage-four cancer, but it’s not stopping her from living.

“It’s been hard. It’s been difficult,” Martsolf said. “I’m praying for a miracle.”

She says she went back to the hospital in extreme pain just three weeks after gallbladder surgery.

“They did an MRI, a CAT scan, and found I had a tumor on my pancreas,” Martsolf said.

At first, she was diagnosed with stage-one pancreatic cancer, but then it started spreading.

“In July of this year, after I had the surgery for my appendix, my doctor told me that I have a year to live,” Martsolf said.

Now, she is using the time she has left to check items off of her bucket list.

“My first and foremost is to go see a Steeler and Penguins game in Pittsburgh,” Martsolf said. “I’ve wanted to go swim with the dolphins, like actually holding onto them and get to pet them and do all that.”

She would also love to see the Harry Potter theme park in Florida and attend the Daytona 500.

“I would love to go to the beach and just relax and listen to the ocean,” Martsolf said.

Her son, Christopher, wanted to see all of this come to fruition.

“I think it was really important for me to reach out to friends and some family in the community to really get behind her and help her dreams come true,” Christopher said.

He started a GoFundMe page to make it all happen.

“We’ve hit a good milestone of a few thousand, which is so powerful and overwhelming,” Christopher said.

Despite her prognosis, Martsolf’s faith, family, and dreams are keeping her going.

“We’re not always going to get what we want, but there’s a better place and just continue to try to have my faith,” she said. “I’ll be OK and my family will be OK.”

Martsolf has tickets to attend a Penguins and Steelers game in just a few weeks. If you would like to help make more of her wishes come true, you can donate to the GoFundMe page here.

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